Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Celebrating English and Spanish Together/Celebrando los Idiomas Inglés y Español Juntos

Bilingual Books and Books with Spanish Vocabulary / Libros Bilingües y Libros con Vocabulario en Español

Selected and annotated by Anna Holland

Some of these titles include full text in both languages and some mix English and Spanish together in a single story, but they each offer audiences an opportunity to experience both languages in one book.

Brown, Monica. Pelé: King of Soccer/El Rey del Fútbol. Illus. by Rudy Gutiérrez. Spanish text by Fernando Gayesky. Rayo/HarperCollins, 2009. 32p. 5–9 yrs.
Pelé is more than a legend—he’s the King of Soccer, and the first man to score a thousand goals in the history of the sport. This bilingual picture book sport biography offers a richly illustrated characterization and history of the Brazilian soccer star.

Brown, Monica. Waiting for the Biblioburro. Illus. by John Parra. Tricycle, 2011. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
Little Ana loves to tell and hear stories. One day she and her small village are greeted by the surprise arrival of a traveling library carried on the backs of two burros over the rural valleys and mountains of Columbia. A picture book inspired by real-life librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, this contains additional resources, a glossary of Spanish terms, and an author’s note on the real Colombian Biblioburro program.

Carlson, Lori Marie, comp. Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States. Holt, 2005. 144p. Gr. 7 up.
Nearly 40 poems from the voices of young American Latinos in English, Spanish and Spanglish are divvied into five categories: Language & Identity; Neighborhoods; Amor; Family Moments & Memories; and Victory. A variety of tones and themes and uniquely Latino perspectives make this a red-hot bilingual collection.

Elya, Susan Middleton. Bebé Goes to the Beach. Illus. by Stephen Salerno. Harcourt, 2008. 34p. 3-7 yrs.
In this mixed English and Spanish picture book adventure, complete with Spanish glossary and pronunciation guide, Mamá and Bebé head to the seashore for an afternoon of relaxation at la playa. But Bebé, full of energy and as springy as his hair, cannot let his mamá rest, instead bouncing along to explore the beach, the sandcastles, and the sweet creamy sopresa.

Elya, Susan Middleton. Oh No Gotta Go #2. Illus. by Lynne Avril. Putnam, 2007. 32p. 3-5 yrs.
Determined to enjoy her time at the picnic the little niña from Oh No, Gotta Go! (BCCB 2003) is back again. Having learned her lesson about drinking to much water, she has refrained from drinking jugo and pink limonada in hopes of avoiding el baño until she returns home. But Mother Nature soon reminds her of other intestinal woes.  

Garza, Xavier. Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask: A Bilingual Cuento. Illus. by Xavier Garza. Cinco Puntos, 2005. 40p. 5-9 yrs.
Carlitos and Papá Lupe wait for Tío Vicente at the Mexico City arena to watch the lucha libre, a wrestling match with masked opponents. Carlitos quickly decides to root for the Man in the Silver Mask, who to the acclaim of one street vendor is “the greatest luchador of all time!” Told in English and Spanish, this flashy, vibrant, comic-book style picture book is a sure win for young fans of wrestling.

Hayes, Joe. Dance, Nana, Dance/Baila, Nana, Baila: Cuban Folktales in English and Spanish. Cinco Puntos, 2008. 128p. Gr. 5-9.
A collection of thirteen Cuban folktales told in corresponding English and Spanish. Renowned storyteller Joe Hayes complies a humorous smattering of trickster tales, characters, and comical situations that make an entertaining read-aloud for audiences young and grown. Notes, story introductions, full-page illustrations, and definitions of unfamiliar words help make these Cuban tales fully accessible to young readers.

Hayes, Joe, ad. and comp. The Coyote under the Table/El coyote debajo de la mesa: Folktales told in Spanish and English. Puntos, 2012. 133p. Gr. 5-8.
Folklorist and storyteller, Joe Hayes, shares a collection of familiar New Mexican Hispanic tales like “Cinderella” and “Puss in Boots” and several lesser-known regional stories. With one page in English and the corresponding page in Spanish, these tales would make a perfect short read for bilingual readers. 

Hood, Susan. Spike, the Mixed-Up Monster. Illus. by Melissa Sweet. Wiseman/Simon, 2012. 34p. 5-8 yrs.
Spike, the slithery, spiky but unfortunately tiny Mexican axolotl, thinks himself the fiercest monster around. But his small size garners him adorable according to the other animals (el pato, el armadillo, and el campañol), much to Spike’s dismay. A glossary of Spanish words and a folklore-like plot would easily lend this book to educational use.

Kimmel, Eric. The Three Cabritos. Illus. by Stephen Gilpin. Cavendish, 2007. 32p. 6-9yrs.
This retelling of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” takes the traditional tale and spices it up with a musical ensemble of cabrito brothers (fiddle-playing Reynaldo, guitar-strumming Orlando, and accordion-playing Augustín). On the way across the Rio Grande to a fiesta in Mexico the brothers are stopped by Chupacabra, a goat-sucking monster, but the clever brothers each strike up a splendid instrumental ditty that whisks Chupacabra onto his feet into a maddening death dance. 

Morales, Yuyi. Just in Case : A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book. Illus. by Yuyi Morales. Porter/Roaring Brook, 2008. 32p. 6-9 yrs.
The charming skeleton Señor Calavera is on his way to Grandma Beetle’s birthday party when he remembers that he needs a present. Determined to give the best gift, Calavera collects 26 gifts, beginning with un acordeón and working his way through the Spanish alphabet. This blend of trickster tale, alphabet book, and Mexican culture could easily find purpose in classrooms.  

Paul, Ann Whitford. Fiesta Fiasco. Illus. by Ethan Long. Holiday House, 2007. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
Switching back and forth between English and Spanish, this picture book tackles friendship dynamics. Tortuga the tortoise, Iguana, and Conejo the rabbit are busy preparing for Culebra the snake’s birthday festivities when Conejo convinces Tortuga and Iguana to buy Culebra gifts that are more suited for a rabbit than a snake. Conejo sneakily claims the unwanted gifts for himself until the others find him out and he is forced to make amends. 

Paul, Ann Whitford. Tortuga in Trouble. Illus. by Ethan Long. Holiday House, 2009. 32p. 4-8 yrs.
Set in the southwest, this fractured retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” begins when Tortuga the tortoise loads up a basket with tasty ensalada, tamales, and flan to take to his abuela and requests the help of his pals Iguana, Conejo, and Culebra. A tricky coyote has other dinner plans for Tortuga, however, and it is lucky Tortuga has his trusty friends to save the day. Includes a glossary of Spanish words.

Weill, Cynthia. Opuestos: Mexican Folk Art Opposites in English and Spanish. Cinco Puntos, 2009. 30p. 4–8 yrs.
This visually pleasing introduction to Oaxacan folk art, opposites, and bilingual words features photo cut-outs and English and Spanish text for each opposite. The thoughtful and clever stylized animalito, or carved animal figures, and illustrations will delight children readers as much as serve as an artistic demonstration of the concept of opposites.